While crewing for Shelly at Javalina, I had the opportunity to spend considerable time with Jon Sanregret and Jesse Scott. I love hanging out with these guys because we always have great conversations about running. Most of the topics revolve around shoes, but we also dabble in every aspect of what we do.
After several beers, we started discussing running form. Jesse brought up the idea that more people should focus on perfecting their running form versus trying to get faster or run longer. The logic is simple- speed and edurance are a by-product of good form. Focus on that and the others will follow.
All too often, people spend too much time trying to find the perfect training plan, perfect race food, or perfect shoes. Yet they ignore the most important ingredient to success- how they run.
Jon and I had a discussion at some point over the last year. He compared running to golf, a sport he played for years. Golf is a game based entirely off good technique. If you cannot hit a ball correctly, you’re never going to reach your potential. Some golfers may be exceptionally physically gifted, but without good technique they will be relegated to mediocrity. Likewise, a golfer with sub-par physical attributes can perfect their technique and consistently excel.
Running is the same. The vast majority of participants could improve dramatically if only they focused on learning good technique. Just like golf, there’s a few of us with limited athletic ability that have managed to do some pretty decent stuff.
The lesson is simple- if you want to improve, start with your form. Don’t concern yourself with track repeats, hill repeats, Fartlek runs, or elaborate crosstraining. Learn the basics of good form first. With that as a base, all else will come with ease.